Along with managing change, there are other development challenges, such as coordinating globally dispersed design teams, integrating across different engineering disciplines, and closing the loop from requirements to validation.
The survey results raise the question of what product development organizations need to do to take on these challenges. Not surprisingly, the answer involves both organizational change and technology. Companies that fared better and avoided some of these challenges had more integrated team structures, as opposed to separate teams for mechanical, electrical, and software engineering, the survey found. In addition, system modeling was a key way to avoid problems, though only 12 percent of respondents said they consistently create system models.
The other linchpin in surmounting the development complexity is technology -- specifically, some sort of structured lifecycle management approach, which is obviously where the PTC connection comes in. PTC and Brown make the case that companies using product data management (PDM), product lifecycle management (PLM), or application lifecycle management (ALM), particularly a platform that is integrated across disciplines, will have more opportunity to avoid the problems that arise from software-driven complexity than companies using point solutions or simple document management tools and email.
The findings are meant to play well with PTC’s product story. The company made a big push last year to embrace embedded software development as part of its PLM platform with its $306 million acquisition of MKS, which markets the Integrity ALM platform. Yet beyond any market positioning value, I think PTC and Tech-Clarity have defined some very real challenges for product development organizations, particularly as products shift from a heavy reliance on traditional electronics and mechanical components to lines of code.
I’d love to hear how the Design News audience is dealing with these challenges and what kind of wrinkles software development is adding to traditional design processes? Discuss in the comments section below.